College of LAS « Illinois

Faculty member named Deborah Paul Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology

Milan Bagchi's research has provided fundamental insights in his field

Deborah Paul and Milan Bagchi, who was recently named the Deborah Paul Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology (Photo courtesy of the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology.)
Deborah Paul and Milan Bagchi, who was recently named the Deborah Paul Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology (Photo courtesy of the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology.)
Following years of groundbreaking and important research, Milan K. Bagchi, a professor of molecular and integrative physiology at Illinois, has been named the Deborah Paul Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology.

An investiture is one of the highest honors that faculty member can receive, with the recipient chosen by a committee of peers. This position was made possible by a generous gift from the Deb and Tim Paul Endowment Fund.

Bagchi earned his doctoral degree in biochemistry from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and served as a professor at the Center of Biomedical Research of the Population Council at the Rockefeller University before coming to Illinois in 2001. From 2008 to 2014, he served as the director of the Center for Research in Reproduction and Infertility, supported by the National Institutes of Health at Illinois.

Bagchi’s research has provided fundamental insights into the mechanisms of steroid hormone action controlling mammalian reproduction. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles in top journals such as Nature, Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, PLoS Genetics, Development, and more. Each year he teaches a highly popular endocrinology course to more than 100 undergraduate and graduate students.

“I am deeply touched by this honor, which recognizes the research efforts of my team to decipher the molecular genetic basis of steroid hormone action that controls cell proliferation, differentiation and immune response in female reproductive tissues,” Bagchi said. “Abnormal hormonal signaling is responsible for various human diseases ranging from reproductive dysfunctions and infertility to breast, ovarian and endometrial cancer. We are performing translational biomedical research in collaboration with clinical partners to improve our understanding of the underlying causes of these diseases. This generous gift will help us to continue to pursue these translational research goals.”

Bagchi has been recognized previously with appointments as University Scholar and Richard and Margaret Romano Professorial Scholar. He is head of the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology.

"In addition to Dr. Bagchi’s outstanding record of translational research, as department head, Dr. Bagchi has provided key guidance to the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, recruiting physician-scientists and key faculty hires active in translational research," said Stephen G. Sligar, director of the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology.

The position is named for Deborah Paul (MS, ’79, biology) and her late brother, Tim. After earning her degree at Illinois, Deborah Paul went on to earn a doctoral degree and then spent 34 years at Abbott Laboratories. She authored 42 journal articles, four book chapters, 80 abstracts and has three issued patents.

She spent 14 years with Abbott Diagnostics doing hepatitis/retrovirus research, where she pioneered HIV research. Paul also worked on diagnostic immunoassays for hepatitis B, C, and E, and from 2005 until her retirement she was director of licensing and business developments for Abbott Molecular.

Paul’s late brother, Tim, who died of AIDS, was a major inspiration for his sister’s work. See a profile of Paul and her brother published in LAS News magazine.

“I am privileged to be able to provide this gift to support the important work of Dr. Bagchi and to play a part in continuing the academic excellence at the University of Illinois while also benefiting the new College of Medicine,” said Paul.

Learn how you can support faculty in the College of LAS.

Dave Evensen and Steph Adams
10/4/2016

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